April 25, 2018
By Registered Mail
NAME AND ADDRESS OF THHE SCHOOL
Attention : NAME, Director,
NAME, Deputy Director
Dear NAME and NAME,
My name is Bérangère Parizeau. I am writing to inform you that when I was 16 years old and a student at NAME OF THE SCHOOL during the 1992-1993 school year, I was repeatedly sexually abused by A.T. for several months while he was my French teacher. NAME OF THE SCHOOL was made aware at the time of what had happened. These events have immeasurably damaged my life. It has taken me years of pain and suffering to get to the point of being able to send you this letter.
At the time, in the context of a pending criminal investigation, after my mother learned of what had happened and called the police, I was manipulated and did not tell the truth in court when I said that nothing happened. I was a petrified, 16 year old girl who, at that time, mistakenly understood these catastrophic series of events as being my fault. I was scared of what would happen to him if I told the truth and couldn’t bear the responsibility of his imprisonment. It took me a decade to understand that it was not my fault, that it was OK to be angry, and that I had been a victim of sexual abuse.
In January 1993, as class delegate with two other students, we had been meeting with A.T. regularly since the beginning of the school year to discuss class matters. That year, I lived beside the school with my father, and so we started meeting at lunch time and after school at my house to have discussions. My father was at work during lunch time and absent after school, which A.T. noticed. On one particular day, A.T. and I ended up alone at my house. This dynamic became frequent. I began to trust A.T. as my friend and we began meeting throughout the city. One night, he suggested that we meet at a bar on Plateau Mont-Royal. Despite being only 16, he gave me a gin and tonic. I had very little experience with spirits. I woke up the next day in his bed, confused about what had happened and why I was there. I was traumatized by the sexual-predatorial encounter. I am still not sure about what really happened that night. I do, however, remember him kissing me in the bar, the disgusting smell of his Gauloises cigarettes, as well as the utter and overwhelming feeling of confusion about the situation I was in. As time passed, he continued to abuse me sexually. He did this by lying and mentally manipulating me. I have come to learn that this is a common characteristic of people who abuse children. A.T. took advantage of my innocence, my lack of experience, and he controlled and took advantage of the (sacred) power dynamic between a teacher and student, as well as of the fact that my father was often absent. He took advantage of the trauma he was inflicting on me to sexually abuse, control, and manipulate me. During the period of abuse, he brought me to a hotel where he touched me, to strip bars, and he also took me, in the Spring of 1993, to the U.S. without my mother’s permission (I was living with her at the time), even after my mother had spoken to the police. The sexual abuse finally ended when I was finally able to say: “NO!” However, he continued to manipulate me until after the court session ended. After we appeared before a judge in criminal court in the Fall of 1993, I had no further contact. A.T.
In September 1993, before this matter went to court, I was enrolled at NAME OF THE SCHOOL to start my 1st year of Cegep. NAME OF THE SCHOOL, inconceivably, tried to prevent me from returning to school. My mother had to go to court in order to force the school to respect my enrolment and allow me to return to school. On top of everything that I had already been through, this was extremely traumatizing for me. It confirmed what I had been thinking all along, that it was all my fault.
The following year I tried to kill myself. I have been dealing with significant emotional/ intimacy challenges ever since. I have learned to live with intensely debilitating trauma and PTSD. This serial molestation has destroyed my life. NAME OF THE SCHOOL did nothing to protect me. Instead, it chose to protect A.T.
A.T. is still a teacher at NAME OF THE SCHOOL. Given what happened to me, I have serious concerns about whether this may have happened to other students over the past 24 years that A.T. has taught at the school. I am deeply concerned about the safety and security of other students at NAME OF THE SCHOOL.
I am writing to ask that NAME OF THE SCHOOL immediately undertake an investigation of this matter and that all steps are taken to ensure that A.T. and anyone else who may have condoned or failed to act in connection with what happened to me are held responsible for their conduct, and that all necessary measures are put in place to ensure that what happened to me never happens again to any student at NAME OF THE SCHOOL.
I am expecting a response from you within the next two weeks detailing the steps that NAME OF THE SCHOOL will be taking. In the absence of a satisfactory response, given the moral obligation that I feel in order to attempt to protect others, I will take the necessary/appropriate steps.
I am a survivor of sexual abuse and I am here today to say loud and clear that children are not disposable. I cannot and will not accept to be silenced by fear any longer because I have come to understand that there will be no justice without truth.
I look forward to your correspondence and response.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
With kind gratitude,